Have you ever felt overwhelmed by a situation that you ordinarily would feel fine doing? That happens to many people daily, and sometimes there is nothing you can do about it. One evening in Sacramento, California, a waiter waited on a customer who would end up doing something completely unexpected.
It was a busy night, and orders needed to get taken, drinks needed to get made, but everything stopped after this moment. Continue reading to find out how this story unravels and learn the astonishing twist that awaits ahead.
Life As A Waitress Gets Funky
If you’ve ever been or currently are a waiter or waitress, then you know this next statement is true. Waiting on tables isn’t an easy job. You have to work long hours, your pay isn’t that high, and sometimes rude customers can ruin your day.
One night in Sacramento, a waiter noticed one customer acting strangely. This man left the restaurant in a rushed manner, but not before leaving a note on the table. After reading it, the waiter rushed out to chase the customer.
Working The Tables On His Own
This odd happening took place on a warm Friday evening. The nice weather brought out a ton of customers to the restaurant, and only one waiter was covering the patio – David Fabila.
Fabila is a hardworking man dedicated to his job, but this night made him feel somewhat overwhelmed. A customer even pointed out that Fabila could have used some assistance to handle the mass amount of people that filed into the diner. He still somehow kept up.
The Single Parent Life
Before we dive right into the story, it’s important to know some background information about Fabila. He’s a 31-year-old dad living in Roseville, California. Roseville is in the Sacramento metropolitan area.
Fabila had two jobs, one as a waiter at House of Oliver wine bar and another strictly to make ends meet. Unfortunately, a lot of parents know that feeling of working two places out of necessity, not desire. Fabila had to provide for his children as best as he could.
Doing Work For Others
The funny thing about this story is that Fabila wasn’t even a waiter. The man was a bartender at House of Oliver, giving the people the spirits they requested with pizazz.
Because it was a busy night he got roped into working as a waiter. House of Oliver was short-staffed, so every employee had to chip in as best as they could. It didn’t take long for the father to become overwhelmed after serving a few customers.
An Exhausting Night For The Dad
Some can keep up with the blind confidence for a short while, but eventually, it wears off. That’s what happened with Fabila after he did an excellent job for a short amount of time.
Thanks to being short on staff, there wasn’t anyone that could help him, and so he had to it by himself. The harsh part is that Fabila had recently finished working his other job, so he was exhausted! The night seemed like it was only going to get worse.
Enter: Steffen Berr
Little did Fabila know, his life was about to change for the better. One customer would end up affecting Fabila’s life remarkably and unexpectedly. Fabila never saw anything like this coming his way.
The customer we’re speaking of is Steffen Berr. Fabila didn’t notice Berr in the restaurant because it was so busy. There was no way that he’d be able to pay attention to or acknowledge Berr, especially since he had to do a job he didn’t usually do.
Dealing With The Unexpected
Fabila worked many years in the service industry up until this point in his life. He found that there were good and bad days, and although this wasn’t his dream job, he knew it was for his family.
Fabila knew this business would have him dealing with many different types of people, and that he had to expect the unexpected. The thing is, Berr was like no one Fabila had ever served before in his life.
Living The Tip Life
Unfortunately, Americans working in the service industry don’t get paid that well. What they depend on is tips, so they have to be as polite and friendly as they can while serving to get proper tips.
Tipping is natural now in American culture. Every waiter, waitress, and bartender can attest to that, as they depend on the extra money a customer provides to them. Fabila was someone who needed as much as he could get, but whether the tips were helpful or not depended on the customer.
Worried About The Wrong Thing…
That night where Fabila had to fill in as a waiter filled him with doubts and worries. He had a lot on his plate, so he worried if he could do the job correctly.
Thoughts of “is he being kind enough, is everyone getting their proper order, and was he leaving an excellent first impression” ran through his mind. Many of the customers had their focus on the food and enjoying the evening. Berr had his sights set on Fabila, watching him like an eagle.
Time For The Bill
A few hours went by, and the place became a little less hectic thanks to many customers leaving for the night. That’s when Berr asked for his bill so he could be on his way as well.
Fabila went to print the check and bring it to Berr, but walked away right after bringing it to serve new customers. Upon returning to Berr’s table, he found that he had left already without notifying his waiter.
This Time Around Was Different
Many times, customers would use their card to pay for the bill, so Fabila would have to bring them the card machine. That wasn’t the case this time around with Berr.
In other cases, people would pay in cash but stick around to wait for their change. Berr didn’t fall into any of those categories as the gentleman departed right after receiving the bill. Once Fabila examined the check closer, he couldn’t believe what he saw.
Splurging On Food
Berr’s bill was nearly $200! It was evident that he didn’t mind how much the food would cost him that night as he splurged on the drinks and eatery.
To be more exact, the bill came out to be $191.39, and he decided to pay by check. The only thing was, the amount Berr left ended up being twice the amount of the original amount. Fabila thought this was a mistake, but he noticed a note written on the bill.
Finding The Note
Shocked, Fabila read the note Berr left behind, and it read: “We’re young, we’re both serving.” Berr left a tip that equaled the same amount of the original bill. Fabila was going to take home a lot of cash that night.
Fabila was quite speechless when it came to the situation. He might’ve needed that money more than others, but he still needed to make sure that it was for him. That’s when he dashed out to look for Berr.
No Mistakes From Berr
Thankfully, it didn’t take long for Fabila to track down Berr. When he found him leaving the restaurant, he asked him why he left such a gracious tip for Fabila.
As it turned out, Berr was only 24-years-old studying at Sacramento State while working an unpaid internship too. That only made the gesture even more incredible. When he heard Fabila ask if it was a mistake, he replied that it hadn’t been one at all.
Empathizing With Fabila
Berr and Fabila began to talk for a bit, and it became apparent why the former left such a generous tip. Berr knew the struggle that Fabila had endured because he was a server too!
When giving an interview to CBS, he revealed that people don’t appreciate the services that waiters provide unless they’ve been in their shoes. Berr also could empathize with Fabila because he knew what it was like to work a busy shift alone.
There Are Still Kind Folks Out There
Berr had no clue about how Fabila lived his life. There was also a popular “Tip the Bill Challenge” going around. That wasn’t the reasoning behind his kind tip either.
Berr was a simple man who enjoyed the service he received from Fabila. He wanted to reward the man who kindly served him with a healthy tip. Fabila’s level of surprise was off the charts because people usually aren’t that kind these days. There are still some good people out there, though.
It Was Time For Celebration
The reasoning behind Berr’s massive bill might make more sense after reading this. He was at the restaurant that night to celebrate finishing his senior year of college with his friends.
For many years Berr worked hard to earn some cash, so he felt it was time to give something back. It’s always nice to see those in better situations help those who may need a hand. Berr saw Fabila working hard, so giving him an extra tip was the least he could do.
Thankful Like No Other
Local news stations wanted to interview Fabila about the fateful night. He used this opportunity to thank Berr for the extreme kindness he showed a fellow hard-working server, and for proving that friendly people still exist.
The two of them had never met once in their lives. Still, Berr decided to lend a helping hand with a large sum of money for the tip. That extra loot could have helped Berr as well, but he wanted Fabila to have it.
Do You Leave Tips?
While it may be something of common knowledge that those who work in the service industry need tips to help buff their low wages, it’s not as common as you might expect.
Some folks don’t leave any amount of tip, let alone how much Berr left behind. An accepted percentage that people should do is 15%-20% of the total amount of the bill. Statistics show that as much as 40% of Americans either do less than that or leave nothing at all.
“Tipped Minimum Wage”
The biggest concern that service workers face is a labor law called “tipped minimum wage.” It’s not a pleasant law, but one that is in play for all the servers out there.
Website minimum-wage.org reports: “California’s normal state minimum wage rate is $12.00 per hour. California labor law allows tipped employees to be paid a lower cash wage than the standard California minimum wage by their employers.” If they were able to make the same money that other workers receive, then the issue wouldn’t be that bad.
Changing The Paradigm
Many feel that that the system isn’t appropriate. They’ve asked for appropriate wages for all those working in the service industry because relying on tips isn’t an ideal way to make any living for yourself.
If things changed, it would mean a more stable and trusted employment structure for millions of folks all over the nation. It would be sensational if this happened because not everyone is as kind as Berr was when it comes to tipping.
Humility Is A Great Trait
We’ve talked thoroughly about how Berr is a kind man who gave his waiter an immaculate tip, and how he’s a stand-up guy for this act of kindness. The thing is, it’s more than just generosity.
Berr was in a comfortable place financially, so he could leave that massive tip that thanked Fabila for all his dedication. While this was an extreme act of kindness, it also showcased a side of humility from Berr that anyone can appreciate.
Learning From Berr
Berr didn’t want any type of credit for what he did. It was a deed he did out of the kindness of his heart. Berr believed that Fabila genuinely deserved that extra $200.
He departed the restaurant so rapidly because he didn’t want any praise. The only reason we know about this story is thanks to Fabila tracking down Berr before he left. What it boils down to is that we can all learn a thing or two from Berr.
Looking For Credit
We hear all the time about how wealthy people take part in generous donations. They’ll donate to various charitable causes multiple times with large amounts. For this, they get praised, as it should be.
The sad part is, not everyone does good deeds out of the kindness of their hearts. Some might donate to make themselves look good in the eyes of others. They might also do it to make themselves feel better or to get some credit.
Have You Heard of Karma?
Some people believe in karma, while others don’t. Karma says that any deed done, whether good or bad, will come back around in some shape or form. That’s why we should always treat people how we want them to treat us.
Some folks don’t even think about karma but do things that will eventually become vital for their futures without even knowing it. Berr didn’t consider karma when he did this; he only wanted to help.
Never Give Up
The most crucial lesson we can take away from this story is never to give up. Fabila had a rough night that evening at the job, but he still carried on like a champ.
While it was apparent that Fabila needed something to lift his spirits, he never expected to receive anything like that from a customer. Imagine if he had left early or told his manager that he needed help. He might not have gotten that extra money! If you’re ever going through something, stay the course, you never know what could happen.
Waffle House Waitress Had No Idea She Was Being Filmed By A Customer
In La Marque, Texas, a Waffle House waitress headed into work for her shift just as she did every day. Nothing was special about the day – it was just any regular morning. Or so she thought. In just hours, a chain of events would take place and change her life, which she couldn’t have known as she went about with her tasks and serving her customers their coffee and breakfast.
This particular Waffle House had quite a few regular customers. One of them was a woman named Laura Wolf. She frequently stopped into the restaurant for a cup of coffee and conversation with the Waffle House staff. Most of her visits to the restaurant were pretty routine. But today, March 3, 2018, was destined to be different than any other day she’d stopped in for her breakfast. Laura saw something that not only caught her attention, but caused her to push breakfast aside and reach for her phone. She started to take photos of a woman, who had no idea that anyone was recording her actions.
Why Were There So Many People At The Waffle House?
Even before something prompted Laura to start filming a waitress, another thing had seemed odd to Laura on this day. Although the La Marque Waffle House usually stayed pretty busy, today it was much more crowded than usual. In fact, it almost seemed as if a large number of the town’s 16,000 residents were there.
The servers scrambled to keep up with all the breakfast orders during the morning rush and Laura kept her eye on all of them.
Laura Watched The Waitress
As a regular visitor to this particular Waffle House, Laura Wolf had gotten to know some of the employees’ names. One of the waitresses who was working on this especially busy morning was a woman named Evoni Williams. She was a long-time employee at the restaurant, so she was well-known to her customers as a hard worker.
Just 18 years old, Evoni dedicated herself to saving up money for college. The long hours at Waffle House were helping, but she hadn’t been able to save very much yet.
What A Busy Day!
Evoni was pretty excited that the restaurant was so crowded – after all, tips are how a server makes the majority of their pay. And more customers naturally means more tips. She got down to business, taking orders and delivering up hot plates of food.
Unfortunately, the restaurant was a little understaffed on this busy day, so Evoni had to hustle even more to cover her duties and keep up with everything. She was really running around to get things done today, but as she dropped off an order at one table, she noticed something that distracted her for a moment.
What Had She Noticed?
It was a particular customer that had drawn Evoni’s attention as she served breakfast to a table of hungry patrons. She’d seen him at the restaurant several times and he usually visited at least once every week. He was definitely a regular.
The customer was a 78-year old man named Adrien, but everyone used the affectionate nickname “Mr. Karaoke” instead. The Waffle House staff knew that he had some health problems and he was now carrying an oxygen tank with him. What Evoni did next was unexpected.
Adrien Flags Evoni Down
Evoni was moving around non-stop to keep up with the fast pace at Waffle House that crowded day. She didn’t really have any time to stop and take a break. Finally, she felt like she was getting caught up on all her duties. Just then, Adrien attempted to get her attention.
She finally noticed Adrien’s efforts to be noticed, so she walked over to the bar area where he was sitting. The elderly man started whispering to her, in a quiet voice so no one else could overhear. Remember that Evoni did not know that she was being recorded by another customer who had noticed this interaction. She had no idea she was on camera.
The Camera Sees It All
Laura Wolf was seated in a booth located directly across from where Evoni and Adrien were having their private conversation. She couldn’t hear what they were talking about and she leaned in a little closer to see if she could catch a snippet of the interaction.
Laura thought the man looked to be a little bit embarrassed as he talked to Evoni. Sensing that something incredible was taking place, it was then that Laura took out her camera and started filming.
Difficult To Understand
During the breakfast rush at a crowded Waffle House, it can be a challenge to hear anyone’s voice above the din. Especially the voice of an old man who was on oxygen for medical reasons.
Evoni leaned in and tried her hardest to understand Adrien, but one of the line cooks noticed that she was holding things up, something the restaurant couldn’t afford on a busy day. Despite his yelling to get her attention, she ignored him and continued to listen to Adrien.
Was He Upset With His Food?
At first, Evoni thought that regular customer Adrien might have had a complaint about his food. After all, that’s one of the most common reasons for a diner to flag down their server. In fact, after quietly whispering something to her, the old man began to push his plate of food her way.
Evoni took the plate, loaded up with ham, toast, home fries, and scrambled eggs, and pushed it right back to him. What was going on?
Someone Was Watching
It might sound like this interaction was taking a long time, but the entire event was only a minute or so of Evoni’s busy morning. She was completely focused on Adrien during this brief moment. All thoughts of the packed restaurant and its many hungry customers left her mind temporarily as she listened to the elderly man speak.
Laura was still filming the interaction, of course, but there was another recording being made as well!
The Security Camera
In a busy restaurant like Waffle House, security cameras are increasingly important. This particular location did have a CCTV security camera set up. At the same time Laura was watching the interaction take place, the camera, hanging from the ceiling, was also recording everything that happened.
The silent camera, barely noticed by anyone, gave a bird’s eye shot of everything happening between Evoni and Adrien on that fateful day at a Waffle House.
Laura Decided To Post The Video Publicly
Laura Wolf was speechless after she witnessed the scene that had just played out in front of her. She now had several photos of Evoni and Adrien as the waitress returned his breakfast plate to him.
She struggled with what to do with the photo evidence, and eventually decided to post it to her Facebook account. She shared it, not having a clue how she was about to change Evoni’s life.
It All Started With A Question
The astonishing scene that Laura Wolf had just watched and recorded all started when Adrien flagged down waitress Evoni. The man was experiencing a decline in his health and was not able to perform personal tasks the way he used to be able to.
Laura thought he had seemed embarrassed or self-conscious when he talked to Evoni. It turned out that he needed assistance cutting his breakfast ham. “I can hold a fork fine and dandy,” Adrien told ABC News. “But to cut it looks like I’m going to stab somebody,” he continued. This is what he had asked of Evoni – for help cutting his food.
Helping Someone In Need
Later, Evoni talked about the scene at the Waffle House on that fateful morning. “He was like, ‘My hands are not functioning too well,'” she said of Adrien’s request. She had to really lean in order to hear his question.
“He needed me to cut his food for him, so I did,” she told ABC News. Evoni took his food, cut the ham into, bite-sized pieces and pushed it all back over to him. This was pretty routine for a waitress to do with a regular customer, so Evoni went about her regular day and didn’t much of it. For now.
Laura’s Facebook Post Was Already Making Waves
Laura felt strongly that she wanted to get the story out about what she had just witnessed. She figured Facebook would be the best place to share her photos. Here’s what she posted. “I don’t know her name but I heard this elderly man tell her his hands don’t work too good.”
Laura went on, “He was also on oxygen and struggling to breathe. Without hesitation, she took his plate and began cutting up his ham. This may seem small but to him, I’m sure it was huge. I’m thankful to have seen this act of kindness and caring at the start of my day while everything in this world seems so negative.” The post instantly affected everyone who saw it.
She Never Expected To Go Viral
Even while she was still at the Waffle House, Laura’s post started to get some major attention. Her phone was lighting up with alerts left and right. People shared positive things about Evoni, and many of them shared Laura’s post on their own accounts. Word rapidly began to spread of this woman’s kind deed.
“If we could all be like this waitress and take time to offer a lending hand…” was how Laura decided to close her Facebook post. Little did she know what would happen as a result.
Praise For Evoni Was Overwhelming
It didn’t take long for Laura’s post to go viral. In just a few days since she first shared it, the photos racked up 90,000 likes and nearly 50,000 shares. People were truly touched by Evoni’s kind act and wanted to share the heartwarming moment with their own friends and family.
Adrien got attention from the post, too, he told ABC News. “Somebody told me two days later that I was very popular because they saw me on Facebook,” he said, and joked that “They got a fancy picture of my suspenders in the back.” It seems everyone in the town knew about Evoni and Adrien.
The Mayor Gets Involved
La Marque, Texas’s mayor is named Bobby Hocking. When word of Evoni’s good deed reached his office, he instantly wanted to meet her. It was arranged that the meeting would take place at the Waffle House (of course).
The restaurant was filled with cameras for the event, which Evoni had expected. But she had no idea what the mayor had planned for this special event. He wanted to honor her in front of everyone.
The Big Day Arrived
Evoni’s big day arrived, and she watched as her place of employment filled with reporters and camera crews. At least this time around, she would be aware that she was being recorded!
The mayor arrived and stood behind the Waffle House bar, right where Evoni had been when she’d helped Adrien with his breakfast that day. And then the mayor announced that he wanted to give a special presentation. He told the gathered crowd and news cameras that he was declaring March 8 as “Evoni ‘Nini’ Williams Day” in La Marque. And things were about to get even better for Evoni, who was already in disbelief.
Returning The Favor
As Evoni’s story made its rounds on the internet, people wanted to learn more about her. How did this remarkable woman end up working at Waffle House?
People found out that Evoni worked so very hard because she wanted to save enough money to attend college. In a “paying it forward” move, some residents of La Marque set up a GoFundMe account in an effort to raise tuition money so Evoni could go to school. And it turns out that someone very important received news of this fundraising effort.
Many People Got Involved To Help Evoni
More and more people began to donate to the GoFundMe page that had been set up to raise money for Evoni and “pay it forward” so she could attend college. People right from her own town and people across the country donated what they could to the kind Waffle House waitress.
At Texas Southern University in Houston, some staff learned about Evoni and her goal of attending college. They decided to help out in a special way. One of the university’s administrators said. “We wanted to reward Evoni’s act of kindness.”
Someone Important Was There That Day
As Evoni learned about the new holiday in her honor that day at Waffle House, she beamed knowing that Adrien and Laura were both there to cheer her on. But there was someone else present that Evoni did not expect in her wildest dreams.
Also there was the president of Texas State University! He said that he wanted the chance to meet Evoni and “let her know that good deeds do not go unnoticed, ” as he said in an interview later. he later explained in a television interview.
An Unexpected Announcement
After the mayor’s presentation of Evoni’s special holiday, it was the president of Texas State University’s turn to take his place behind the Waffle House bar. He was about to give the special woman a gift no one could have imagined.
With a jumbo-sized check in hand, the president announced that the school was awarding Evoni a scholarship worth a whopping $16,000! Evoni, and most of the crowd, burst into tears of surprise and joy.
The People Responsible
The folks who helped start this whole thing were especially happy for Evoni. Laura Wolf and Adrien could have had no possible idea the role that they would play in one Waffle House waitress’s future.
As she spoke to reporters that day, Laura had this to say. “It was so busy in here, you know? And she actually took the time to stop and hear what he had to say instead of walking past him. It just meant something to me,” she explained. And Adrien said that the act meant a lot to him as well.
Just Another Day Of Being Kind For Evoni
Ever humble, Evoni said that she did what anyone else would do if they knew someone was in need. She didn’t let the award, the media attention, or even the scholarship go to her head.
As she told local reporters “I don’t know, it was something I would do any other day.” But anyone who’s ever been helped by the kindness of a stranger might disagree with her. Evoni is a beautiful example of treating people with kindness.